# Mixed Numbers Background Information for Teachers, Parents and Caregivers

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about mixed numbers. It is designed to complement the Mixed Numbers topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Before beginning this topic, you may want to explore the other movies in the Fractions unit. This movie will build upon the concepts that are covered in other fraction movies and introduce mixed numbers.

Remind children that a fraction is a number that shows part of a whole. Take a piece of a paper and fold it into quarters. Then color one quarter blue. Ask children to name the fraction of the paper that is blue (one-fourth) and the fraction that is not blue (three-fourths). Write the fractions on the board and explain that the denominator, or bottom number of the fraction, represents the total number of equal parts. The numerator, or top number of the fraction, represents the number of parts that is being discussed or counted. For review, you may want to repeat the demonstration again by folding paper in half or eighths.

Explain to children that a mixed number is a number that shows both wholes and parts of a whole. Show two and a half apples. What fraction represents the number of apples you have? Have children count the whole apples first and then add on the half. Write the mixed fraction 2½ on the board, noting how we do not add a space or add any other symbol between the whole number and the fraction. Repeat the activity showing different fractions of fruit to represent different mixed numbers. Be sure to use a combination of unit fractions, such as one-fourth, one-half, and one-third, and fractions where the numerator is not one.

Then, challenge children to write down mixed fractions and draw or make a model to represent each number. Mixed numbers can be confusing for some children, so we recommend doing plenty of hands-on activities and providing a lot of practice.